HIV Infection: Screening

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 21 May 2024.

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Photo of Peter Gibson Peter Gibson Conservative, Darlington

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when she plans to extend the opt-out HIV testing programme.

Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

As part of the HIV Action Plan, NHS England made an initial £20 million available over three years up to 2025 for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) opt-out testing in 34 emergency departments in areas with extremely high HIV prevalence, with five or more HIV cases per 1,000 residents aged 15 to 59 years old. This includes Blackpool at 4.9 HIV cases in 2019, and the whole of London, including some local areas with high HIV prevalence, specifically with two to five HIV cases per 1,000 residents aged 15 to 59 years old, with additional funding from NHS London.

The programme shows extremely encouraging outcomes and in the first two years, it has preliminarily delivered nearly 1.9 million HIV tests, and helped find more than 1,000 people with undiagnosed or untreated HIV.

In November 2023, the Department announced a new research project to evaluate an expansion of HIV opt-out testing in emergency departments in England. Backed by a further £20 million of funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research, the research project will evaluate the testing programme in 47 new sites across England, where HIV prevalence is high. The research project is currently in its set-up phase and will run until the end of 2025/26, with sites receiving twelve months of funding for testing.

Decisions on whether to continue offering opt-out HIV testing in emergency departments in local areas with extremely high and high HIV prevalence will be based on outcomes of the current opt-out HIV testing programme and research project, as well as available funding.

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